Transforming lives.
Transforming systems. 

 

At Better Futures Minnesota, we are more than a nonprofit providing a single service. We work to build healthy communities for more Minnesotans by operating at the intersection of racial, social, economic, and environmental justice.

We envision a future where men who want to build a better life for themselves, can. A future where men, predominantly African American, returning from prison have the supports they need to stay out of prison. A future where men who want to succeed aren’t locked out of opportunities, but they have access to the fundamentals everyone needs to build a healthy, happy life for themselves and their family.

Yet we know it takes all of us, working together, to disrupt and end systemic racial barriers that keep men left out of opportunities to build a healthy life for themselves and their families.   

African Americans represent only 5 percent of Minnesota’s population, yet they make up 31 percent of the state’s prison or jail population. These systemic, racial disparities represent a troublesome, growing trend in our state.

Across the country, men being released from these systems are not welcomed into the community. In states like Minnesota, they are prohibited from voting, prohibited from living in public housing, and they face significant barriers to employment and often remain isolated from the community.  

Without systemic transformation and personal supports, nearly 60 percent will return to Minnesota prisons.  

We know we must work to build fair, equitable systems that end the revolving door of Minnesota prisons and give everyone in Minnesota the opportunity to thrive.

Nurturing relationships and families.

At Better Futures, we believe the Four Fundamentals are necessary components for building a healthy life: stable, safe housing, workforce training and good jobs;  health and wellness engagement, and life skills/family coaching and mentorship. Our integrated-care model gives men access to these core needs on Day 1.

We also believe that healthy communities start with healthy supports and healthy, engaged families.

Nearly 85 percent of the men we serve have children.  Children are cited as their greatest motivating factor—they want to stay out of prison and be loving, supporting fathers.  And our 13-year history, combined with research, indicates that the men we serve do better when their children do better; and children do better when their parents do better. 

This is why we engage “whole families,” helping men build open, nurturing, and trusting relationships with their children.

We know this two-generational approach is essential for supporting men in transforming their lives, and it’s essential for ending a cycle of poverty and instability that harms children and future generations.

Work matters.

Work and a reliable job have deep intrinsic value—that’s why each participant in Better Futures has the opportunity to build valuable “green job” skills that can help them build their own success stories.

Our jobs promote environmentally sustainable practices through deconstruction, recycling, repurposing, and reusing materials from appliances, homes, and buildings.

At Better Futures Minnesota, working to preserve the environment not only creates jobs, it helps to rebuild lives and a healthier planet. The men at Better Futures are proud of the work they do. They’re proud that it supports them, and also future generations.

Our ReUse Warehouse in South Minneapolis—which features salvaged home goods such as cabinets, bathtubs, sinks, reclaimed wood, appliances, and more—is one of the many ways the men are working every day to build a better future and meaningful relationships in the community.

Helping to create success stories. In 2018:

253

men received outreach services

99

men received coaching, housing, and job placement

94

men were employed through Better Futures commercial enterprises

16

men obtained permanent housing

96

percent of men remained in the community

348

certifications were earned in deconstruction and more

Support a Better Future for all

When you shop the Better Futures Reuse Warehouse or donate your building materials, you help support the men of Better Futures, the community, and the environment.

Ways to support us